Letter to the Editor: Benita Cooper

Haddonfield resident and local architect offers a spate of solutions to make your coronavirus home experience more vibrant.

Dear Editor:

Here are six Stay-At-Home Design Tips to help you and your family feel and live better during the quarantine. 

  • Watch daylight travel through your house from morning to night. Rearrange your furniture to soak up the sun during your favorite part of the day and capture the best views. This could mean keeping an accent chair in place, but rotating it so you can see a tree with freshly blooming flowers.
  • As work, home school, and family life converge, exceed your expectations of your home’s limits. Consider the ability of each space to switch gears and suit different activities at different times of the day. You can transform the mood and flow of a dining table just by rearranging the seats around it – kids can do home school at the head of the table to promote a more serious, conference- room feel. Just make sure to tuck away school items and work items separately. 
  • Learn to find your family’s collective personality, or inner voice, and express it with the right combination of colors and materials. Create a design palette that makes the most of things you have at home, and remove anything from your spaces that don’t fit the palette. You will eventually see the best version of you — the you that you are on your best days — shine through in the transformed space.
  • Take a tour of your house and really get acquainted with your spaces and objects within them, as though you were a guest there for the first time. Pick out a nook that you can sink into anytime you need a moment just for yourself. Personalize it with some of your favorite things, and remember to use your nook often! 
  • Paint a room or two with soothing colors. Warm hues make you feel warm and cozy; cool hues expand rooms visually and give a spacious, calming effect. Start with the color family that gives the psychological effect you want, then toggle the cool-warm scale to tweak that effect to get it just right. If you can’t get a hold of new paint, make or buy artwork to cover enough of your walls. 
  • Go through your collection of heirlooms and other sentimental objects. They may not have value to anyone else, but they are emotionally invaluable to you. Memories they carry may give you the comfort you need. Think about new ways to display them. It’s fun to combine objects with different histories, to tell a new story that is uniquely yours.

Benita Cooper

Haddonfield. N.J.